Do Your Part To Prevent Winter's Bite

11/01/2010 12:00 PM

12/28/2010 4:53 PM

The winter chill is moving south and preparing to take a bite from our bank accounts. We’ve all heard that ‘winterizing’ our homes will help keep utility costs down and is easier on the environment. Here’s a short list of options that are simple to do that will yield the most immediate results. Do Your Part and put a few to use in your home today.

Let’s start with one of the simplest ways to keep warm air moving inside your home: reverse the direction of your ceiling fans. In the colder months, your fan blades should turn in the clockwise direction to force warmer air collecting at the ceiling down toward the floor. You can tell that the blades are turning in the wrong direction for the colder months if you feel a breeze pushing down on you when standing directly under the fan.

Another smart place to check for leaks is in your attic. First, make sure the attic door itself is insulated and seals when shut. As for the actual attic space, if you can see the ceiling joists, you probably need more insulation. And, if you’re fireplace is more ornamental rather than functional use a chimney plug to prevent warm air from rising right up and out of your house.

Windows and doors are he biggest places where warm air escapes outside. Use a match or lit candle to search for leaks. If the flame blows out when held next to windowsills or door frames – there’s a problem. Replacing windows and doors with efficient new ones are your best bet but can be costly. One alternative is to put up insulating storm windows and doors to act as a barrier. You can also use window insulating kits or heavy drapery to help keep winter drafts from entering your home through windows. And, weatherstripping is an inexpensive solution for filling gaps in door frames. For high traffic areas, rubber weatherstripping is your best bet because it is more durable than foam variety.

Don’t forget to keep up with the maintenance of central heating units. Furnaces should be checked each year to make sure they are operating at maximum efficiency and with clean filters. A clogged filter makes the unit work harder, costing more to operate and creating a fire hazard. Another good idea is to check the duct work in your home to make sure there aren’t any leaks. You can easily fix any that you find with metal-backed tape found at any hardware store.

And finally if your hot water heater is located in a cold garage or closet invest in a water heater-insulating blanket. This keeps your unit from having to work so hard to heat the water.

These do-it-yourself jobs can be as big or as little as you want and they all add up to energy and money savings. Do Your Part this winter to keep warm air inside your home and even more money in your pocket.


To learn more everyday green living solutions that will help you Do Your Part, visit me at, on Twitter or become a fan of Do Your Part on Facebook.


Entertainment Videos

Join the Discussion

Charlotte Observer is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Terms of Service